The 11th International Japanese Language Debate Course was held online from August 21 (Sun.) to August 28 (Sun.), 2022, sponsored by the International Society for Teaching Debate (ISTD) and the Japan Debate Association (JDA) Kyushu Chapter, co-sponsored by Kyushu University’s Faculty of Languages & Cultures (FLC), and organized with the cooperation of the Kyushu University’s Graduate School of Integrated Sciences and Global Society (ISGS), School of Interdisciplinary Science and Innovation (ISI), Kyushu University Debate Club (QDC), Debate Bridge (ISI’s student organization), and Hiroshima Shudo University Debate Club.
This intensive course, now in its 11th year, aims to promote international exchange between Japanese language learners and native speakers through debate activities in Japanese. Professor Narahiko Inoue of the FLC of Kyushu University has continued this course in cooperation with Japanese language teachers from all over East Asia. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the course was held in a “debate camp” format at Kuju Joint Training Center for National Universities in Kyushu Area, but it has been held online for the third year in a row. It was a valuable opportunity for Japanese students to interact with Japanese language learners from various regions such as Korea, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The lecturer was Prof. Katsuya Koresawa (Hiroshima Shudo University, one of the Directors of the Japan Debate Association), who offered live and recorded lectures about the basics of academic debate and the debate topic “Resolved: That the Japanese Government should abolish the mandatory retirement age systems.” The students tackled this issue, which may be of interest to them in the future but is also influencing the current society and economy, with lectures and activities in groups of three or four students. In the debate tournament at the end of the course, the international mixed teams fully demonstrated the results of the course, and a close battle ensued.
Kosei Enomoto, a fourth-year student at the School of ISI who led Team A to the championship for the second year in a row, said, “In this course, we learned how to debate constructively by searching for evidence and confirming the correctness of our arguments with the other team through many rounds of competition, including classes and the final games. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to discuss with people from different countries and regions and to make new discoveries about the retirement systems while deepening friendships.”
Hina Namizaki, a second-year student in the School of Economics at Kyushu University and winner of the Best Japanese Speaker Award, said, “I think I was able to develop good discussions throughout the preparation and the competition because I was able to cooperate with the members in my group. We were able to improve our speeches, cross-examinations, and rebuttals by combining the evidence and ideas each of us brought to the group. We also enjoyed chatting and discussing topics, such as job hunting and school lunch culture in our hometowns.”
More than 30 participating students were able to learn and interact together using online tools such as Moodle(R) and Zoom(R). In a situation where face-to-face international exchange is still difficult, this course offered new possibilities for future online debate education and Japanese language education.
Participants’ universities: Kyushu University, Hiroshima Shudo University, Kobe University, Huizhou University (China), National Yang Ming Chiao Tung University (Taiwan), Fu Jen Catholic University (Taiwan), Konkuk University (South Korea), Kyung Hee University (South Korea), Busan University of Foreign Studies (South Korea)
Narahiko Inoue, Professor, Faculty of Languages and Cultures
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